Shenzhen: Saina Nehwal’s hopes of winning her maiden World Super Series Finals title this year went up in smoke as she lost her semi-final clash against top seed and current Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China in a three-game encounter.
Saina waged a grim battle against Xuerui and took the match to the decider but eventually ran out of steam.
Saina lost 20-22, 21-7, 13-21 to the Chinese shuttler in 50 minutes. Saina was eyeing her first WSS Finals title having lost in the title round last year and in the semi-finals in 2009.
The World No. 3 Saina made a resounding start reeling off six straight points in the opening game. But the Chinese girl clawed her way back to make it 9-9 with Saina being guilty of being a shade slow in her returns.
The Hyderabadi girl, however, relied on her fine baseline game to be 16-13 ahead but Xuerui again caught her up at 16-16. (agencies)